The American Soldier in Arab Novels

Blasim further said, in an interview for Barnes & Noble, that he didn’t write about Americans, and indeed “deliberately ignored stories of American soldiers, the kind that appear in Iraqi and American literature and art, either as heroes, victims, or criminals.”

A Celebration of Ibrahim al-Koni, the Desert, Russian Literature, and ‘Swiss Sufism’

Encouraged by translator/scholar/writer Elliott Colla---who had an interesting short essay about Ibrahim al-Koni in yesterday's Ahram Online---I thought we'd make this an al-Koni week. Although not an "Arab" writer, al-Koni is one of the giants of contemporary Arabic literature, and has a unique and world-encompassing literary vision.

‘They Kill Translators, Don’t They?’

I often---perhaps too often---think about translation. Lately, I've been mulling the penchant of book reviewers to sigh about any text not originally in English (that they didn't entirely love): Well, who knows, this was probably the fault of that translator. (The translator is invisible, the reviewer doesn't know much about him/her, but---anyway---it was probably that person's fault.)

More on the Talented Ahmad Yamani and News of Arabic Poetry in (English) Translation

If you want your own Ahmad Yamani---in print, in English---you can of course pick the Beirut 39 collection (which features a few of his early works), or head back to issue No. 32 of Banipal. Or you can hop around online, notably stopping at Arabophile, Youssef Rakha's site. But you can't buy a collection of … Continue reading More on the Talented Ahmad Yamani and News of Arabic Poetry in (English) Translation

5 Arabic Books (in English) to Read ‘Before You Die’

Well, perhaps this one was a bit morbid: The "Five Before You Die" was a feature we ran back in the summer 2010; by now, there are now many more great Arabic books available in translation, but this remains a strong list from translators, authors, critics, and publishers. Shakir Mustafa Although he might not put … Continue reading 5 Arabic Books (in English) to Read ‘Before You Die’